Orsted announced Friday that the clean energy company plans to protect almost 1,000 acres of the 1,700-acre Smiley’s Meadow from future development as it begins construction this week on Mockingbird Solar Center west of Paris off Highway 82. Completion is expected in 2024.

While Orsted has roughly 3,900 acres under lease from landowners, the company is purchasing almost 1,000 acres of the Smiley-Woodfin Native Prairie Grassland for the purpose of donating it to The Nature Conservancy, a national organization with a goal to protect the environment.

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